Over the last few years, cryptocurrencies have been all the rage. This year particularly, their popularity has not only spiked, but the price of certain cryptocurrencies has gone through the roof. For instance, one Bitcoin in 2010 was worth a mere $0.08, now it’s above an eye-watering $6,000. Etherium, the next biggest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin, has seen its value rise by more than 2,500% over the course of 2017.
So what exactly are cryptocurrencies you ask? Cryptocurrency is essentially just digital money designed to be secure and in many cases, anonymous. Unlike normal currency – pounds, euros, US dollars etc – cryptocurrencies are not regulated nor controlled by any banks, governments or financial establishments.
With regards to one of its biggest unique selling points, cryptocurrencies are secure because every small or big transaction that takes place is stored and verified on a database (known as a blockchain) which is shared on hundreds of computers across the world. This makes transactions visible to everyone and therefore a matter of public record.
Interested in what the public think of cryptocurrencies, Turnerlittle.com analysed findings from YouGov, who surveyed over 1000 American adults (18+), to identify their attitudes towards the phenomena of cryptocurrencies.
The research revealed that 66% of Americans have heard of bitcoin but just 13% of them have used it. Etherium, the next biggest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin, was far less known -with only 24% of Americans having heard of it. Out of those aware of Etherium, 21% said they had used it before.
With respect to what Americans thought people used cryptocurrencies for, the majority seemed unsure or unaware, as 40% stated they “don’t know”. Interestingly though, 29% of Americans did think people used cryptocurrencies mainly for “purchasing illegal goods/services through the dark web”. Gaining a deeper insight into this belief, 24% of Americans do firmly believe cryptocurrencies are primarily just for illegal purchases as opposed to 19% who either think it is for legal purchases only or equally for both (legal and illegal purchases).
When asked if they would be interested in using a cryptocurrency instead of US dollars, an overwhelming 64% of Americans said they would not be interested. Contrastingly, 18% of Americans did say they would be interested in making the switch.
Looking into the future, 35% of Americans do believe there will be a wider acceptance of cryptocurrencies as a means of transaction in the next 10 years. Though, 28% don’t consider this to be the case and 37% simply have no idea. Moreover, 51% of Americans don’t think cryptocurrencies in the next 10 years will replace traditional currency. A minority of 18% felt the opposite, with the view that cryptocurrencies will put traditional currency into extinction.
Photo credit: Wit Olszewski/Shutterstock
James Turner, of Turner Little:
“The emergence of cryptocurrencies has been nothing short of extraordinary. With the current value of established cryptocurrencies surging and with many more emerging, they are certainly here to stay. What’s truly going to be interesting is how cryptocurrencies evolve as they become more and more prominent. Looking ahead, if they have greater transparency and do not become subject to aggressive regulations, they have the characteristics and desirability to be adopted by a wider array of stakeholders including well-known merchants and mass consumers”.